Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hints About the Future

Today at noon, the board of the Hudson Development Corporation held a special meeting to consider the three proposals that have been submitted for the redevelopment of the Kaz warehouse site. Synopses of the proposals submitted by the three developers--Bonacio Construction, Kearney Realty & Development, and Redburn Development--were presented to the board and audience members and representatives of the three developers were there to speak about their proposals and answer questions.

The meeting began with Don Moore, the HDC board member who chairs the committee reviewing the proposals, explaining that the meeting had two purposes: the first, to introduce the three proposals to the public; the second, for the board to consider what information they have and may still need to make a choice. After the public presentation, he said, the board would go into executive session to discuss the matter. He told the audience it was possible that there would be a vote after the board came out of executive session but then commented that it was "almost a lead-pipe cinch" that a decision would not be made today.

The first to present (the presentations were made in alphabetical order) was Bonacio Construction. The one-page synopsis of their proposal was in very small type--so small it almost requires a magnifying glass to read. They are the only one of the three developers that proposes to retain any part of the old warehouses. They intend to "retain and repurpose the center portion of the existing KAZ warehouse complex." In this building, which they say is "in perfectly usable condition for our intended purposes and presents a sustainable and economically efficient approach" to housing the three things they propose: an urban grocery market, work force housing, and an agricultural resource hub/education center.

Bonacio Construction is in discussions with Hawthorne Valley Farm about the urban grocery market, which would be sited "on the side of the warehouse facing Front Street." With Hawthorne Valley Market, they are developing a plan "that will possibly include, in addition to the main retail floor, an outdoor garden area, a 2nd floor overlook patio, as well as a loading dock and sufficient back of house space."

Bonacio proposes using "the east-facing portion of the warehouse to cost effectively create up to 6 work force housing units." The units are described as "open, loft-like layouts . . . that adaptively reuse the existing structure and capture southeastern light with large glazed openings."

Bonacio is also talking with Hawthorne Valley about the "agricultural resource hub/education center," which would be adjacent to the market and well served by the loading dock & staging area . . . to blend the needs of area farmers, students and area youth."

The Bonacio proposal also involves a future pad site "for a possible mixed-use building containing an additional 18-20 residential units." The construction of this is building, the exact location of which is not specified, would commence "upon stabilized occupancy of the Front Street building," that is, the repurposed center portion of the Kaz warehouses.

The proposal from Kearney Realty & Development, which was in medium small type, is for housing--all kinds of housing, "with not enough of any one type to stigmatize it." They have given the project a name--"The Landing"--and define three primary goals:
  1. to provide high-quality housing options for both artists and middle-income individuals and families--those most feeling the pressures of rising housing costs in Hudson, and, importantly, the demographics that will bring metropolitan vitality to the South Bay;
  2. to address voids in Hudson's commercial and retail sectors, particularly by securing an affordable, bountiful urban-scaled grocery store that will serve full-time residents and weekenders coming off the trains, as well as day-trippers;
  3. to provide affordable office and creative/innovative spaces to Hudson-based not-for-profits in the form of a flexible storefront space; the space will be rented at-cost for an initial three-year period.
All told, the Kearney proposal involves four buildings. Building 1 is proposed to be mixed-use commercial and retail on the ground floor with market rate housing on the upper floor. Buildings 2, 3, and 4 will be "mixed-income rental housing accommodating approximately eighty units: sixty affordable artist lofts offered to individuals or families earning 50 to 60 percent of Columbia County's median income; and twenty middle-income housing units, available to individuals or families earning up to 130 percent of the Columbia County's median income."

The plans for "The Landing" also include parks--one at the east end and another at the entrance from the train station. The presenters from Kearney stressed "weaving the site into the rest of the city" and had with them a display board showing an example of an imitative red brick building with an Italianate cornice.

Redburn Development presented the one-page synopsis with the biggest type, which provided a bulleted list of what they intended to create:
  • 10,000 square foot grocery store
  • 57 moderately priced apartments
  • 20 artist's lofts
  • 400 car parking facility
  • 5,000 square foot theater
  • 9,000 square foot arts focused co-working space
  • farm-to-table restaurant
  • 48 units for sale [i.e., condos]
In his presentation, the spokesperson for Redburn noted that they too were talking with Hawthorne Valley about the proposed grocery store. He also stressed that Redburn would not be using tax credit and therefore would not be creating apartments for people who earn a specified percentage of the annual median income for the area. Instead, he said, "We build everyday apartments for everyday people." He talked about "All-In Living" offered at other Redburn residential projects, in which all utilities--high-speed internet, HD direct TV, electricity, heating and cooling, and hot water--are included in the rent. He clarified that the theater proposed in the plan is a new theater for Stageworks. He concluded his presentation by observing that people are wanting to move out of larger cities and opining, "The world is changing, and Hudson is primed to capitalize on that."

When the presentations had been made, the public left, and the board went into executive session. Two hours later, Sheena Salvino, executive director of HDC, sent Gossips the following statement about the outcome of the executive session. As Moore had predicted, no decision had been made.
The Hudson Development Corporation's board agreed today to continue its consideration of the three bids submitted to redevelop the KAZ property. Based on the strength and legitimacy of the bidders and on the public comment, the board is moving to another round of due diligence to fulfill its responsibility to the public to consider each bidder's capacity and financial ability to complete the contract with HDC, and to evaluate each bidder's accountability, past performance, reliability and integrity. The board will be asking each bidder for further information on financial performance, housing and commercial structures, pricing and budget.
The suspense continues.


  1. is a Hawthorne Valley Market with their not-at-all-cheap offerings what Hudson needs?

  2. This question has been raised many times before. Can Hudson support some of the ideas described by these developers? Has their appropriateness for Hudson been researched? What about mixed income housing? These proposals beg for details.